Call for employers to support staff returning to work

Date posted: May 11, 2021
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Midlands employers are being urged to check on their staff’s mental health while many begin returning to work during and after Mental Health Awareness Week.

The Mental Health and Productivity Pilot (MHPP), funded by Midlands Engine, has been helping companies in the region take steps to support and improve the mental health of their workforce – and boost their bottom line at the same time.

With many employees slowly returning to the office and more staff heading back into work from 17 May, MHPP is using Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from 10 – 16 May, to call on employers to take steps to ensure their staff are supported when they come back.

Professor Guy Daly, MHPP Lead said:

With many people returning to work after a long time away, it’s more important than ever for employers to make sure their staff’s mental health is a key priority, and to put policies in place to support staff to get help should they need it.

Our research has shown the pandemic and home working has created more triggers for poor mental health, such as being furloughed, isolation from colleagues, and additional home stresses such as balancing childcare with work.

We also found that many workers were less likely to speak to managers about experiencing mental health problems since lockdown as they were worried about what effect it could have on their job security.

During Mental Health Awareness Week, we want to stress to employers that checking up on your staff’s mental health and encouraging them to open up as they return to work is not only good for their mental health and morale, but also boosts productivity too.

We have seen that having a workplace culture that reduces stigma and allows workers to talk about their issues with their line managers or dedicated mental health champions reduces absences and presenteeism – where staff turn up for work despite being ill.

If we can encourage Midlands employers to take proactive steps to improve mental health in their workplaces, it will go a long way to helping the economy recover.

MHPP works with businesses of all sizes across the Midlands to recommend a free mental health programme that is right for them.

It is being led by Coventry University in partnership with the University of Warwick, the West Midlands Combined Authority, mental health charity Mind and the universities of Birmingham, Derby, Lincoln, Loughborough and Nottingham.

Any business looking to improve mental health in their workplaces should visit the MHPP website.

For the latest on our region, subscribe to Midlands Matters, the official newsletter of the Midlands Engine.
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